It is the habit of Tamil people to make different colors of variety rice like elumichai / lime rice (yellow), puliyotharai / tamarind rice(brown), thakkali / tomato rice (red), kothamalli / cilantro rice (green), thengai saatham / coconut rice, curd rice (white) , milagu saatham/ pepper rice , ellotharai/ sesame rice (black) etc during their family get-together.
They are generally called kalantha saatham (mixed variety rice) or chithrannam in Tamil.
Tomato rice is the most favorite for many of us. Hope all are familiar with a tomato rice with fennel , cinnamon and a biryani like flavor in tomato rice. But this is a very humble variety with unbeatable tangy taste that would tempt us to eat more.
Moreover I have devoured this kind of tomato rice along with paruppu thogayal and masal vadai in vegetarian restaurants of Tirunelveli. But couldn't find it in Madras. So I guess it as a very native / homely method to make this simple thakkali saatham.
I am describing my mom's way here, as she (as well as me) had appreciated this version over the biryani flavored one always. In both way tomato blends well with rice and that's what we like...right:)
Uncooked rice - 1 1/4 cup (for 2 people)
Ripen Tomato (juicy variety) - 3
green chilly - 5
Shallot onion - 6
Turmeric powder - a pinch
red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 3 tsp
mustard - 1/2 tsp
channa dhal - 1 tbsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
cilantro (chopped) - 1 tbsp
Bring to boil 5 cups of water along with 1/4 tsp salt.
Wash and add the rice.
Cook till it becomes soft (but individual grains). Using a colander strain and discard all the water. Keep the cooked rice aside.
Heat oil in a wok.
Splutter the mustard seed, add channa dhal, curry leaf, cilantro and fry well.
Now add the chopped shallot and fry till it becomes soft.
Then add the finely chopped tomato , green chilly, turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt and cook covered till the tomato gets mushy.
Now open the lid and cook the tomato gravy till it becomes a thick gravy. Put off fire.
Then add the cooked rice and mix carefully without breaking the grains.
Tomato rice is ready!
Serve along with paruppu thogayal, masal vadai , potato chips or any poriyal.